Collins Powers Miami to Sweep of No. 25 NCSU
Raleigh, N.C. • Doak Field at Dail Park
|W||C. Hammond (3-0)|
|L||J. Olczak (0-1)|
|Palmer, T. (4), Kennedy, G. (3)|
|Armstrong, J., Knizner, A.|
|Collins, Z. 2 (6)|
|Knizner, A., Armstrong, J.|
|Collins, Z. 6 (19), Fieger, B. (19), Ruiz, J. (4), Palmer, T. (15), Kennedy, G. (11), Lopez, B. (14)|
|Armstrong, J. 2, Knizner, A., Turner, T.|
RALEIGH, N.C. — Freshman Zack Collins powered Miami to a sweep of No. 25 NC State Sunday, connecting for two home runs and six RBI in a 12-5 victory at Doak Field.
Collins recorded the first multi-home run game of his career in the win, belting two towering shots to send Miami to its second ACC sweep of the spring.
“It was a great game, and our guys swung the bat well,” head coach Jim Morris said. “It was a good game for us, and a big weekend sweep.”
The six RBI was the best individual offensive effort since Scott Lawson drove in six against Texas A&M in 2010, while the multi-home run game was the first for a Hurricane since Peter O’Brien accomplished the feat in 2012.
“It’s great to see him come through,” Morris said of his star freshman. “He had a great fall, and we all knew he could swing the bat. It’s nice to see him start coming alive for us.”
With the game tied up 5-5 in the seventh, Miami’s bullpen pitched three scoreless innings to keep the Hurricanes in the game. Freshman Cooper Hammond (3-0) earned the victory in relief, while Miami scored four runs in the eighth – including a three-run home run from Collins – to go ahead 9-5.
Miami scored eight runs over the final three innings of the game, including three more in the ninth, to capture its first three-game ACC sweep since a 2011 trip to Wake Forest.
“It was a pretty crazy game,” Collins said. “It felt good. I’m always trying to put the bat on the ball hard and make good contact. Today, those [balls] went out.”
The Hurricanes jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI groundout from Collins. With seniors Dale Carey and Tyler Palmer on base after back-to-back walks to open the game, two wild pitches from NC State starter Logan Jernigan advanced both runners into scoring position.
Collins’ hard-hit grounder to short produced the first run of the game for the Hurricanes.
Miami (17-12, 8-4 ACC) chased Jernigan after just 2.0+ innings, when back-to-back singles from Palmer and freshman Willie Abreu opened the third. Collins delivered again for the visitors, cracking an RBI single through the rightside to put Miami ahead 2-0, while a sacrifice fly from senior Brad Fieger made it 3-0.
The Pembroke Pines, Fla., native then belted a towering solo blast off NC State reliever Joe O’Donnell to put Miami ahead 4-0 in the fifth. The Hurricanes, who entered the weekend tied for the ACC lead in home runs, connected for three more on the weekend against Wolfpack pitching.
NC State (15-11, 3-9 ACC) came storming back with three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to take its first lead of the series. Solo home runs from Andrew Knizner and Jake Armstrong off Bryan Radziewski helped key the comeback.
But the Hurricanes fought back to tie the game on an RBI single from freshman Johnny Ruiz. Down 5-4 in the seventh inning, Miami had its first two runners reach base via hit-by-pitch and walk. After Collins flew out and Fieger struck out, Ruiz delivered a single to shallow left that plated the speedy Palmer from second base, tying the game 5-5.
A four-run eighth inning gave Miami the lead for good. Palmer’s RBI double scored Garrett Kennedy, and Collins three-run blast gave Miami a commanding 9-5 lead. An RBI double from Kennedy and a two-RBI single from sophomore Brandon Lopez capped the scoring and sent Miami to a sweep.
“It’s awesome,” Collins said. “But we have to keep working hard. No matter what goes on, you still have to play the next day.”
The Hurricanes return to the diamond Wednesday for a midweek matchup against Bethune-Cookman. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. from Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
Season tickets to Miami’s 2014 season start for as low as $99, with a Family Plan option (two adult tickets, three youth tickets) covering all home games available for just $199. For more information, visit CanesTix.com or call (305) 284-2263.